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October 23, 2014

Legislature Cuts the Brake Lines

Get-on-the-bus-HIH

A friend of mine just returned from Juneau. “Shanny, it’s a scary ride down there. The wheels are still on the bus, but the brake lines have been cut.”

Elections have consequences, and the result of November’s vote put us all on the same ride.

There are multiple bills introduced this session, written up by Outside think tanks funded by John Bircher millionaires. So, besides the lack of brakes, the people driving the bus are under the influence of much more intoxicating influences than their constituents.

Now it would seem the bus has decided to go off road and take “short cuts”. Oh, what could go wrong? Put on your seat belt. You may need a nausea bag.

I knew bad bills were coming, but I figured if they were vetted in committees, Alaskans paying attention would see they same things I do.

Last week I wrote about the school voucher bill, a plan to change our Constitution to allow public money to go to private schools. There was one saving grace to this ridiculous bill — the public process. The Education Committee is chaired by Republican Sen. Gary Stevens from Kodiak. Mr. Stevens is a grown up. He likes facts. He listens. He doesn’t just shove things through. He’s thoughtful.

So, on Friday, while Stevens was absent, Senate President Charlie Huggins stripped the bill from the education committee.

No thought, no vetting, just vote. (I miss you, Lyda Green!)

In similar fashion, a bill introduced by the senator from North Pole has been introduced to redefine the term “medically necessary abortion.” Sen. John Coghill’s bill, an attempt to punish or shame poor women, will not get a hearing in the Health and Human Services Committee. OK, I may be in the weeds on this one, but it would seem that such a committee is an appropriate place to define a medical term.

The Health and Human Services committee is chaired by Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka. Mr. Stedman has always struck me as serious with his pocket watch and stern questions. The last thing I ever want to hear him say is “trans-vaginal probe.” Looks like any “health” bills won’t see the committee that deals with health.

The point of Coghill’s bill is to exempt “rape and incest” from “medically necessary abortions” status for the poorest victims in our state. Currently poor women impregnated by rape or incest are covered under Medicaid. Coghill’s thinking is if you’re raped — even by a family member — and get pregnant, that was God’s will and we can’t pay for that sort of abortion. He’s trying to change it to “elective.”

Who needs thoughtful questioning when you have the brain trust of North Pole figuring it all out for us?

While discussing the “medically necessary abortion” bill, Coghill asked, “Why wouldn’t somebody (promptly report rape or incest)?”

Doctor Coghill, oh, sorry, you’re not a doctor.

Mr. Coghill, sir, you are either willfully daft or cruel.

As one Alaskan put it this week, “If Coghill doesn’t know why women might not promptly report rape or sexual abuse, maybe he should call the pope.”

Sexual abuse, rape and incest are the most under-reported crimes. They are even less reported by men. In Alaska there is no statute of limitation on prosecuting the rape of a minor. There’s a good reason for that, a reason that escapes lawmakers whose ignorance hasn’t kept their hands off the levers of power.

What world does Coghill live in? Did he not read anything about Papa Pilgrim? About the sexual assault rates in this state? Women who are poor, or girls being abused under their own roofs, don’t have resources to escape. Sexual predators are often in respected positions like priests, teachers, scout leaders, and it compounds the confusion and adds to betrayal. The most confident and secure aren’t chosen victims. We have villages that don’t have any safety officers — who do they turn to?

Oh, that’s right. Choose Respect. If only rapists were swayed by bumper sticker slogans.

Legislation shouldn’t be introduced to procure status with your radical believers. It shouldn’t be diverted in Juneau to avoid transparency and vetting. Real people, with really painful situations, are made worse with the insensitivity of posturing lawmakers.

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round. Wake up, Alaska, we’re headed for a cliff with no brakes — and with drivers under undue influence.

Comments

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Comments
7 Responses to “Legislature Cuts the Brake Lines”
  1. tallimat says:

    Huggins took a oath of office to the Alaska people AND to the state of Alaska.
    Technically, the latter is the state constitution. Which specifies no state funds goes to religious organizations. That would include religious schools.

    Huggins is not serious about his oath of office.

    • Sourdough Mullet says:

      Aw Tallimat, how can you be so disrespectful of the likes of ol’ chest-thumpin’, flag-wavin’, Hummer-drivin’, military service-flauntin’ Charlie Huggins? Clearly, here’s a man who knows what’s best for all of us whether we know it or not, and he’s not afraid to trample all over the State constitution in his pursuit of “Constitutional Conservatism” to see that it gets snuck into law. .
      All Alaskans are in debt to the likes of Charlie & the New Christian Taliban, some of us just haven’t learned to appreciate yet how he and his ilk have freed us from the burden of free will and the hefty demands of inclusive democracy.
      ;-)

  2. mike from iowa says:

    State of Virginia pulled a stunt like this last month. The state senate was evenly split and when one Dem went to the Inaugural for Obama,rethugs had a one vote majority and passed their gerrymandering bill, Looks like they will gain control of the lege next election. If you trust a rethuglican with anything,they will stab you multiple times. This is a lesson Dems need to learn and never,ever,ever,ever,ever, forget!

  3. carol davis says:

    When the newspaper ran the story about Coghill vs “medically necesary” abortions, wasn’t any surprise to me. Coghill, a person who will NEVER experience an unwanted pregnancy, has never made it a secret that his life long goal, surpassing ALL others, is to eliminate legal abortions. Making abortion illegal will never eliminate them; it will only make them less safe. Women faced with unwanted pregnancies will always find a way. Unfortunately, sometimes that way will also take the life of the woman or destroy her health or reproductive abilities. Maybe that is part of the “grand plan” is for any woman, who “sins” and gets pregnant, well, she should carry the pregnancy to term or die if she aborts. Yes, elections have consequences and the voters of Alaska have made some stupid choices in the last election.

  4. Sourdough Mullet says:

    Was Track Palin anywhere in the vicinity when those bus brake lines were cut? Just curious …

  5. unionguy56 says:

    Maybe Senator Gary Stevens should pull a Holmes maneuver. Exit the Repugnican Party (they treat him like a Democrat anyway), become an Independent, and leave the Repubs without a super-majority.

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